England coach Lancaster calls up Neville to restore pride in his squad
Gary Neville has been asked by England interim coach Stuart Lancaster to address his players during their pre-Six Nations training camp.
Sportsmail understands the former Manchester United full back is ready to accept the invitation to join a host of guest speakers from outside rugby as the new England management team look to restore pride in the Red Rose jersey.
While the RFU have yet to receive confirmation that the Sky Sports pundit is willing to make an appearance at the camp – being held at West Park RUFC in Leeds – it is thought he is likely to attend.
Call-up: Neville has been asked to speak to England's rugby side
Neville would be the latest sporting figure to be recruited by Lancaster, who has already lined up talks by Dave Brailsford, the British Cycling performance director, England cricket managing director Hugh Morris and England rugby league captain Jamie Peacock.
There will also be an appearance by a former corporal in the British Army, Simon Brown, who was badly injured in Iraq.
The head of England’s interim coaching panel – also featuring Graham Rowntree and Andy Farrell – is taking these innovative steps in an attempt to provide timely motivation and inspiration for his young squad and also re-establish a sense of passion and pride in representing their country.
Innovative: Interim coach Stuart Lancaster
It is hoped that Neville will play a major part in fostering that renewed zeal for national service in the aftermath of a World Cup campaign which led to accusations of players being more interested in the pursuit of financial reward and sponsorship deals.
England will gather in Leeds a week on Monday and, prior to the guest appearances, a busy schedule will include an assessment of the shortcomings in New Zealand. Lancaster has temporarily moved the squad away from their familiar base at Pennyhill Park in Surrey in an attempt to enhance the feeling of a fresh start and ‘re-connect’ with the English rugby public.
Crossing codes: England's rugby league captain Jamie Peacock
Brown was with British forces in Basra in 2006 when he was shot in the face, losing sight in one eye and retaining minimal sight in the other. He eventually came to terms with his injuries, did a teacher training course and has become a motivational speaker.
Asked what his message will be, he said: ‘You guys are the cream of English rugby, you are young, talented and, player for player, you can stand against the best in the world.
‘Be proud to wear your national shirt. Rugby is fun and you are earning money doing what you love to do. How many of us wouldn’t offer up limbs to have the opportunity to put on our national shirt and you guys have that opportunity.’